24/7 call for a free consultation 212-300-5196

AS SEEN ON

EXPERIENCEDTop Rated

YOU MAY HAVE SEEN TODD SPODEK ON THE NETFLIX SHOW
INVENTING ANNA

When you’re facing a federal issue, you need an attorney whose going to be available 24/7 to help you get the results and outcome you need. The value of working with the Spodek Law Group is that we treat each and every client like a member of our family.

Client Testimonials

5

THE BEST LAWYER ANYONE COULD ASK FOR.

The BEST LAWYER ANYONE COULD ASK FOR!!! Todd changed our lives! He’s not JUST a lawyer representing us for a case. Todd and his office have become Family. When we entered his office in August of 2022, we entered with such anxiety, uncertainty, and so much stress. Honestly we were very lost. My husband and I felt alone. How could a lawyer who didn’t know us, know our family, know our background represents us, When this could change our lives for the next 5-7years that my husband was facing in Federal jail. By the time our free consultation was over with Todd, we left his office at ease. All our questions were answered and we had a sense of relief.

schedule a consultation

Blog

Penal Code 16470| Dirks and Daggers

 

California Penal Code 16470 on Dirks and Daggers

California’s laws on dirks and daggers can be confusing and complicated–I should know, I’m a criminal defense attorney here in the state. In this article, I want to break down Penal Code 16470 in simple terms so regular folks like you and me can understand it. I’ll also talk about some real cases I’ve seen to show how these laws play out in the real world.

What is a dirk or dagger?

First, let’s define what a “dirk or dagger” even is according to California law. Here’s the legal definition from Penal Code 16470:

A knife or other instrument with or without a handguard that is capable of ready use as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury or death.

That’s a mouthful! Let me break it down–a dirk or dagger can be:

  • Any kind of knife
  • With or without a handguard
  • Used for stabbing (not just slicing)
  • Can cause really serious injury or death

So things like switchblades, stilettos, and push daggers would fall into this category. Even something as simple as a sharpened screwdriver could be a dirk or dagger if you carried it around as a weapon.

Now, folding pocket knives and utility knives are also capable of stabbing someone. But the law says they are only dirks/daggers if:

  1. The blade locks into place and
  2. The blade is exposed (opened).

So if you have a folding knife in your pocket and it’s closed, that’s perfectly legal. If you open it but the blade doesn’t lock, also legal. It’s only illegal if you open it and lock it–then it becomes a concealed dirk or dagger.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
2024-03-18
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
2024-03-18
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
2024-03-15
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
2024-03-12
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

Real Cases

Let me give some examples of real dirk and dagger cases I’ve seen to show how this works:

Case 1: The Switchblade

I once defended a client who was arrested for having a switchblade in his car. Switchblades are specifically banned in California, even just for possession. So in this case it didn’t matter if my client carried it openly or concealed–just having it at all was illegal.

We still challenged the search of his car, because the cops didn’t have a good reason to search in the first place. But the switchblade itself was clearly an illegal dirk/dagger. My client ended up pleading guilty to a misdemeanor and getting probation.

Case 2: The Hunting Knife

Another client of mine was arrested when police found a 6-inch hunting knife concealed under his jacket. He used the knife for hunting trips but forgot it was there when he went into town. Even though he didn’t intend to use it as a weapon, it was still concealed and qualified as a dirk/dagger.

We argued he wasn’t “carrying” it because he didn’t know it was there. But the DA said ignorance isn’t a defense. My client did some community service and took a weapons safety class to resolve the charges.

Case 3: The Faulty Folding Knife

A third client had a folding pocket knife in her purse. Normally this would be legal, but the blade on her knife was broken–it wouldn’t close all the way. This meant the blade was in the “open and locked” position, making it a concealed dirk or dagger.

We got the charges dropped by proving the knife wasn’t working properly. My client got it fixed so the blade would close again. The DA agreed that she didn’t intend to carry an illegal weapon once she saw the malfunction.

Defenses

As you can see from those examples, there are some defenses that can work in dirk and dagger cases:

  • You didn’t know the weapon was there
  • The weapon was obtained illegally by police
  • The weapon was broken or malfunctioning
  • You used the weapon legally for hunting/fishing

A good criminal defense lawyer can look at the specifics of your case and decide if any of these defenses apply. I’ve had many cases dismissed once we could show the weapon wasn’t concealed, wasn’t dangerous as carried, or my client didn’t know about it.

Penalties

If you are convicted of carrying an illegal dirk or dagger, you could face:

  • Up to 1 year in county jail if charged as a misdemeanor
  • Up to 3 years in state prison if charged as a felony
  • Fines up to $1,000 for a misdemeanor or $10,000 for a felony

Prosecutors have discretion whether to file misdemeanor or felony charges. Factors like your criminal history and the circumstances of the offense come into play. Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help get misdemeanor charges in many cases.

The Bottom Line

I know these California laws on dirks and daggers can be complex. I see the confusion first-hand from my clients who get arrested. My advice is this:

  • Don’t carry stabbing weapons like switchblades or stilettos unless you have a lawful purpose like hunting or fishing
  • Make sure folding knives are closed and not exposed
  • If arrested, don’t say anything to police and call a defense lawyer immediately

With an experienced attorney fighting your case, we can often get dirk and dagger charges reduced or dismissed. Don’t leave your freedom up to chance–call my office today for a free case evaluation.

References:

[1] California Penal Code § 16470 – Justia Law

[2] California Penal Code 16470 PC – Dirks and Daggers – Shouse Law

[3] What Is a Dirk or Dagger under Penal Code § 16470? – Greg Hill & Associates

[4] “Dirk” or “dagger” defined, Cal. Pen. Code § 16470 | Casetext Search + Citator

[5] California Code, Penal Code – PEN § 16470 – Codes – FindLaw

[6] California Dirk or Dagger Laws – PC 21310 – Wallin & Klarich

Lawyers You Can Trust

Todd Spodek

Founding Partner

view profile

RALPH P. FRANCHO, JR

Associate

view profile

JEREMY FEIGENBAUM

Associate Attorney

view profile

ELIZABETH GARVEY

Associate

view profile

CLAIRE BANKS

Associate

view profile

RAJESH BARUA

Of-Counsel

view profile

CHAD LEWIN

Of-Counsel

view profile

Criminal Defense Lawyers Trusted By the Media

schedule a consultation
Schedule Your Consultation Now